We should celebrate women all year and promote intersectionality

By EMILY MELVIN
On March 11, 2020

Photo courtesy of Fotomovimiento, Flickr

Women’s History Month has been celebrated every March since 1911. The month-long celebration of female visibility and remembrance for female accomplishments is just another reminder that women are still fighting for gender equality. 

In addition to Women’s History Month, March 8 is recognized as International Women’s Day, the highlight of the month. The holiday is not limited to America only; according to the International Women’s Day official webpage, “The day is not country, group or organization specific - and belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.” 

All over the world, those identifying as women have embraced the month as a platform to publicly address gender issues amongst all groups. To do so, many large- and small-scale events take place throughout the whole month, and the movement itself has gained more popularity and interest as the years have progressed. 

Each year, the day has a new theme. The 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual, meaning that an equal world is an enabled world. The campaign stresses that we all have individual responsibilities when it comes to complete inclusion and equality. 

If each of us actively focuses on challenging or changing pre-existing stereotypes, biases or issues, we will be one step closer to creating a gender-equal world. 

International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month are important to not only the feminist movement but to our world as a whole. In 2020, it is remarkably disappointing to live in a world where women are still looked down upon and not given the equal treatment that is well overdue.

The feminist movement is one of the most important and progressive movements in history. Without feminism, women would not have nearly as many opportunities as we do now. It has paved the way towards the women’s rights we know today. However, there are some flaws that need immediate attention, and these flaws are exemplified during International Women’s Day. 

March should not be the only time that we celebrate and embrace women. It is important that women are seen upfront during March, but there are still 11 other months in the year that demand respect, equality and attention for women’s issues. 

Month-long praise is not what we want: we want our actions and identities to be normal and accepted.

However, no matter how mainstream and progressive the feminist movement is becoming, it is still not intersectional. 

We praise and respect women when they are women we want to praise or respect. Women belonging to various minority groups are almost always overlooked and ignored; women of color, disabled women, immigrant women, LGBTQ+ women, lower-class women - the list goes on.

This is not meant to discredit any white, cisgender women - as a white, cisgender woman myself, I too am constantly fighting for feminism and know that I have thoughts to contribute to the conversation. But how are we supposed to call ourselves feminists if we are not intersectional?

In order to preach the ideology that women are important, we need to remember and highlight that all women have voices and abilities that hold great value, because of and not in spite of their other identities.

“The whole purpose of intersectional feminism is to listen to different kinds of feminists – not just ones like yourself,” the International Women’s Development Agency stated. “Acknowledging how different forms of discrimination intersect with and amplify gender-based discrimination is a critical way to ensure all women reap the benefits of women’s rights.”

Now is the perfect time for feminists to gather new members and speak up on the things we are passionate about. Women’s History Month is a pivotal campaign to our society, but hopefully, with a collective effort, we can improve the standing of feminism and Women’s History Month to make respecting and representing women a year-long priority.

 

emelvin@ramapo.edu

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